What Do Social Media Influencers Say About Birth Control? A Content Analysis of YouTube Vlogs About Birth Control

Health Commun. 2023 Dec;38(14):3336-3345. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2022.2149091. Epub 2023 Jan 15.

Abstract

Youth get their sexual health information from social media, often from social media influencers (SMIs) or microcelebrities with large followings. Previous research suggests that SMIs have powerful persuasive effects on attitudes and behaviors. Thus, it is important to examine the ways in which sexual health information, such as birth control, is conveyed by SMIs. Using framing theory as a theoretical framework, this study examines characteristics of SMIs and their shared experiences pertaining to birth control. A content analysis of YouTube vlogs (n = 50) posted from December 2019-2021 was conducted on SMIs who talk about their experiences using hormonal and non-hormonal birth control. SMI status was determined based on the number of people subscribed to the YouTube channels. Results suggest that SMI YouTube videos are primarily about the discontinuation of hormonal birth control and may provide inaccurate sexual health information. Reasons for discontinuation of hormonal birth control provided by the SMIs are discussed. Future research should explore the effects of influencer sexual health messaging on beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Contraception
  • Humans
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Social Media*
  • Videotape Recording